Babcock was awarded the contract to provide five new Type 31 Frigates for the Royal Navy in November 2019.

The main assembly and outfitting work for each of the five ships will take place in the New Assembly Hall at Babcock’s Rosyth site, with production due to start in 2021. Installation of the ships masts and some final equipment outfitting will take place outside of the Hall, whilst the ships are on the hard standing, prior to them being moved in to the wet basin for commissioning and setting to work activity. Each frigate is expected to weigh 5,7006,000+ tonnes and be around 140m long. 

Key facts

Constructing facilities to deliver a new shipbuilding order

The new building is designed to allow the assembly of two vessels side by side in a benign environment , free from any weather disruption. With lots of open space, it will enable effective and efficient working including modular assembly and lean production.

This spaciousness gives room for gantries inside the hall, providing stair access so that personnel can safely work on all areas of the vessels without leaving the building. Removing the need for scaffolding also makes access and egress safer.

Babcock is applying lean thinking to the design of the assembly hall as well as to all working practices, to support future proofing of the building. Processes will be in place to stop production quickly if issues arise, while hand-held devices will support material flow and operations. Robertson is delivering the infrastructure to support this as well as the services for the latest welding and painting equipment.

Assuring best value

Robertson worked with Babcock to review designs and methodology to ensure best value and meet their cost expectations. The hall will provide a safe, clean and dry environment that will accommodate the machinery, and manufacturing and fit-out processes required to deliver this key Royal Navy equipment.

Defence industry infrastructure - constructing an assembly hall for shipbuilding

Project team

Architect: Oliver & Robb
Quantity Surveyor: Rider Levett Bucknall
Principal contractor: Robertson Central East
Civil & structural engineer: Blyth + Blyth 
M&E engineer: Tuv Sud (FES)

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